New issue of Music & Copyright with Austria country report

The latest issue of Music & Copyright is now available for subscribers to download. Here are some of the highlights.

Court rules no share of UMPG’s Bob Dylan acquisition proceeds should go to coauthor estate
A New York court has ruled that the estate of songwriter Jacques Levy is not entitled to a share of the proceeds from the acquisition of Bob Dylan’s catalog by music publishing major UMPG in December. Levy coauthored a number of tracks with Dylan that were featured on one of the music star’s earlier albums. Although Levy has received royalties for the sale of the tracks, the late author’s wife filed a lawsuit against Dylan and UMPG claiming that the agreement establishing Levy’s royalty rate also covered any sale of the works. However, the court decided otherwise, ruling that the agreement was clear that the contribution by Levy was made as an employee for hire and not a joint author.

Strong quarter and half year results for UMG ahead of September listing
UMG has registered a positive set of results for the second quarter and first half of its 2021 financial year. Subscriptions and streaming were again the stand out revenue stream with the growth rate in the three months the highest for the last seven quarters. Although now a minor source of income for the music company, sales of physical formats grew sharply, while licensing receipts also increased along with merchandize sales. North America remained the dominant source of recorded-music revenue, ahead of Europe and Asia, but it was the rest of the world region that scored the biggest income rise. Music publishing revenue was down in the quarter and half year at reported exchange rates but up at a constant rate measure. Vivendi’s live entertainment and ticketing unit Vivendi Village saw revenue double in the quarter with strong growth reported in the US.

Now is the time to take Twitch-style tipping to another level
Tipping has offered a lifeline to many artists during the COVID-19 pandemic, with live streaming video gaming service Twitch proving popular among musicians. Capability is now being enhanced on social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook as the bigger technology companies see remuneration through tips as a way of ensuring creators stay loyal. However, the tipping ecosystem is beginning to look a little behind the times and is ripe for innovation, especially as the mechanism has demonstrated just how loyal audiences can be to artists. Tippers should be better rewarded for this loyalty, perhaps with exclusives, while musicians deserve a larger cut of the tipping proceeds than they currently get.

Austria country report
In addition to the usual set of music industry statistics and news briefs, the latest issue of Music & Copyright includes a detailed Austria music industry report. Austria is one of Europe’s smaller music markets. Although well-developed, with a relatively high per-capita spending rate on music, the country could be described as one of Western Europe’s laggards when it comes to the transition from physical formats to digital. Like its bigger neighbor to the north, Germany, which plays host to a large sector of consumers that have long been wedded to the CD album, physical formats accounted for the biggest share of spending on recorded-music in Austria until 2018. However, digital has quickly increased in dominance with streaming the biggest revenue generator for local record companies. Authors’ rights collections in the country suffered a decline last year because of the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Also affected was performance rights revenue for producers and performers. Hardest hit by the virus was the live sector with ticket sales dropping sharply.

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